Assembly candidate Woodson accused of welfare fraud

At least one candidate for the Nevada Assembly knows how to make government work for her, according to authorities.

Nakia Woodson, 38, a Democratic candidate for the vacant state Assembly District 3 seat, has been charged with lying about her income to fraudulently obtain welfare benefits, according to documents obtained by the Review-Journal.

She was charged with eight felonies ranging ranging from theft, public assistance fraud and unlawful acts concerning food stamps.

Woodson, an apparent newcomer to Nevada politics, is accused of taking $5,441 from several government-funded programs: food stamps, child care benefits, Medicaid and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Woodson didn’t disclose she was receiving $912 per month in rent from a property she controlled, according to a police report.

An investigator with the state Division of Welfare & Supportive Services uncovered the alleged fraud, which occurred in 2010 and 2011, according to the report. Woodson was charged last year and a preliminary hearing was set for March.

Woodson, who said she was a single mother with two children, said she never even received rental income she’s accused of lying about. She said she was recently charged because her political opponents sought to ruin her chances of being elected.

“Why do you think they brought charges (last year)?” she asked. “Because I’m an African-American female. They picked the candidate they wanted to have the seat.”

The candidate filing period starts Monday and ends March 14, so it’s unclear whether Woodson will face heavy competition for the seat, which was previously held by Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce, who died in October.

It’s also unclear if Woodson, who abruptly ended an interview Thursday, still plans to run.

Woodson is a proponent of the Affordable Care Act, according to her Facebook campaign page.

In December she spoke at a Clark County Commission meeting, where she said she was president of the Las Vegas Black Historical Society, the state’s first licensed black female bail bondsman and also held a law degree.

She told commissioners she was against the failed More Cops sales tax, which would have added more police officers in Clark County.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283. Follow @blasky on Twitter.